Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Hands in the Middle....

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    I wonder what the "very important evidence" is, or whether it's all just "self evident"

    Um, yes, and I certainly hope Chen & Palmer's lobbying (and Sir Geoffrey's teaching and academic work) was of slightly higher quality than "it's self-evident".

    Palmer is a very smart and capable man, but he does need some serious media training about how not to come across as mansplaining to the peasantry.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @mattgeeknz

    I agree that the report is very easy to read. From the report, the WHO study is hardly conclusive:

    "while extending times of sale can redistribute the times when many alcohol-related incidents occur, such extensions generally do not reduce rates of violent incidents and often lead to an overall increase in consumption and problems."

    And if you look at the overseas examples, at least two of them involve extending the drinking hours by an hour in what in my experience is the time for peak trouble, i.e from 1am tp 2am and midnight to 1am (p185).

    There is no example overseas comparable with the proposed shift from say, 6am close, to 4am close. As I said, again from my experience, the most problematic people are already passed out or at A&E by 4am.

    So in that regard I don't think the proposal is backed up by the evidence, here or overseas. I don't think Sir Geoffrey (not sure about your wife) has stepped foot in a bar after 4am for some time to see what's really going on.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Coming to New Zealand as a European was a bit of a strange experience alcohol-wise - and I'm sure it's true for most (young) tourists too.
    Drinking in licenced premises at 16 (including special premsies for 16-25 year olds) and driving at 18 (with a zero limit) sound eminently more sensible than what is proposed here. It's the policy in Belgium.

    I also never understood how making people subject to prohibition based on age would make an alcohol culture any more manageable than the current other (prohibited) drug cultures are.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Bad English aside, if that were true, France would be a complete wasteland; clearly it isn't, so there's more to it than simply the age of availability.

    I think the phenomenon the commission were thinking of isn't so much being introduced to alcohol, the substance, as being introduced to binge drinking in the Anglo-Celtic style.

    I don't know what the answer is. Maybe we should just adjust immigration quotas from France...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Edward Siddle,

    apropos of what uroskin said, some paper I read during a University statistics course found the rather surprising (to me at the time) conclusion that having a drinking age about two years below the driving age produced the best results in terms of negative drink driving stats for young drivers. the logic seemed to be that by the time they were allowed to drive, they'd had a couple of years at least to figure out how to drink (and what it did to them in varying doses). no way i could cite it now - the coursebook is long since gone - so cannot remember where the study was from and whether it would be applicable here or not.

    of course there's no way that drinking at 16 and driving at 18 would be possible politically in nz.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Actually, as far as hospital admissions go, the figures are about the same for males and females (3.59). Females don't get arrested as much as males - that's true - but younger women experience greater victimisation risks due to alcohol.

    i haven't read the report, so i won't jump to conclusions as to what you're saying, but thats sounds suspiciously like victim blaming to me. hardly negates your 'not the menz' argument.

    It's not a moral judgement, it's a statistic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Obviously you have more expertise than me, Ross, but I am a bit uncomfortable with your page there. Eg:

    Research has found that the younger people begin drinking, the more likely they are to become alcohol dependent later in life. [6]

    The reference is to this paper. Now the Finns have many admirable qualities but a restrained attitude to drink is not one of them. True, the notion that drinking patterns are a culturally determined thing is itself something we ought to prove, but I don't think you can show that French drinking culture is bad by pointing to studies of Finns. The other studies cited in support of not introducing booze to the young don't come from France either.

    On another point, I think minimising alcohol consumption, and changing people's behaviour when they do consume, are two different things. Can't we aim for the minimal binging of the French while keeping our lower per capita consumption?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Here's the list of the 30 countries with the highest per-capita alcohol consumption.

    There seem to only be about 29 countries that drink seriously.

    And the long list, beginning with Afghanistan (0.0)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The reference is to this paper. Now the Finns have many admirable qualities but a restrained attitude to drink is not one of them.

    Indeed. Without wishing to generalise, all but one of the Finns I've ever met have been mad drunks. And the one who isn't likes a drink as much as the next man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    The 3rd place showing of the Irish is particularly scary given the oft-claimed factoid that per capita Ireland has more teetotallers than any other European country.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    What does New Zealand have in common with the Netherlands? I mean apart from a per capita intake of 9.7 litres (in 2003). It was kind of interesting to look at the countries on similar levels to us and compare perceptions about society. Without being stereotypical of course.

    I'm confused. Thoroughly. They are the same year (2003) right? But the figures are different. Is one more correct than the other?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    I don't think you can show that French drinking culture is bad by pointing to studies of Finns

    Agreed. In our article we covered French drinking:
    Alcohol is involved in half of the deaths from road accidents in France (31 percent in New Zealand), half of all homicides and one-quarter of all suicides. Rates of cirrhosis of the liver are more than double our own...youth drinking is on the rise in France, with beer and alcopops driving the increase.

    And then also looked at the 'let's teach kids to handle their piss' issue too.

    That said, we can learn things from the French: they have quite a nice system of regulation over alcohol marketing. Sir Geoffrey was equally attracted to that system and has build in something similar in his report.

    Finally, a prediction - Parliament won't put the purchase age to 20...they might do the split as Russell suggests.

    p.s. would love to continue to chat, but have to pop out for a minute to take my damn Citroen to the fix-it shop.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Here's the list of the 30 countries with the highest per-capita alcohol consumption.

    and

    Now the Finns have many admirable qualities but a restrained attitude to drink is not one of them.

    bah! who needs alcohol when you can have hard drugs

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I don't think Sir Geoffrey (not sure about your wife) has stepped foot in a bar after 4am for some time to see what's really going on.

    I can put my hand up and say I have a couple of times, and my experience matches Damian's pretty exactly.

    As a club owner for a decade the trouble patches were always in the window between midnight and two, when the post work pissheads or the kiddies would tip over the edge and cause mayhem in the streets. We would have our full doormen complement on board then, knocking all but one off by 4am when it was always, and I mean, always, into the good humoured, drama free, part of the night.

    I also owned the club during the licensing move from 3am to very late closing and watched our wage bill increase dramatically and our bar take remain pretty static. We were taking the same over a longer period and that didn't increase at all as people got used to the hours, it just got kinda nicer as the nights got longer.

    And hell, if you've never had the privilege of seeing Nathan Haines and The Enforcers at the end of a four hour set at 5.30am you've not lived.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Bad English aside, if that were true, France would be a complete wasteland; clearly it isn't, so there's more to it than simply the age of availability.

    Ross has dealt with this pretty well, however I'd just had the same discussion with <namedrop>Rodney Hide</namedrop> in the Koru lounge, who believes we should have no drinking age "like the French". Obviously they do have a drinking age, 16 sort of, but even that isn't working for them, as explained in this piece from the NY Times:

    Binge drinking in France? Don't French children grow up sipping wine alongside their parents, learning the virtues of moderation?

    In an effort to crack down on binge drinking among French teenagers, the government last week proposed raising the legal age for buying alcohol to 18 from 16. It also wants to ban...all-you-can-drink "open bar" evenings at French high schools.

    France's laissez-faire approach has been tested by what the Health Ministry says is a 50 percent increase, over the last four years, in hospitalizations of children under 15 for drunkenness.

    France already has some of the world's toughest restrictions on the marketing of alcohol; ads are banned entirely on television and print ads are not allowed to show people drinking wine, beer or liquor.

    So it's hardly a laissez faire paradise anyway, (but don't those high school drinking binges sound fun!), but the cliche that it's all good with the yoof in Paris just ain't true.

    And on Afghanistan, they might have 0.0 reported drinking, but I've bought beer there, seen teens driving out to the lakes and getting pissed away from the cops, and shared a bottle of vodka on a cold winters night with the locals.

    Oh, and they do an awful lot of heroin...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I think it's clear that traditional French drinking culture -- the one we perhaps unwisely romanticise -- is being replaced by the UK model. A 50% increase in four years? Something unusual is happening there.

    Cue my standard hand-wringing about the levelling effects of global capitalism on local culture.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Tessa Houghton,

    It's a moral judgement when it's used to counter an argument that if we're going to address age-related drinking issues, we should also address sex-related issues.

    I'm not quibbling with the statistic, I'm querying its use in reply to a comment made regarding factors relating to statistics of hospital admission and harm caused by/related to drinking. I don't see pissed women becoming victims as their fault. Assuming I haven't misinterpreted the argumentative intention behind the statistic being cited, its a little too similar to the ALAC Lisa ad for my taste.

    Wellington • Since Aug 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Ah, here we are:

    But these days it does not seem to work like that any more.

    "Our societies resemble each other more and more, and binge drinking, especially at weekends, has developed in recent years in France," says Patrick Bloche, mayor of the 11th Arrondissement, or district, of Paris.

    Mr Bloche has just initiated an extension of the "dry area" in his district.

    "We have to fight this bad habit, this growing trend for some Parisians, especially teenagers, to gather outdoors, in public, and drink for hours until they're drunk," he explains.

    The health ministry says the number of children under 15 admitted to hospital for drunkenness has increased by 50% in the past four years.

    The number of people under 24 treated in hospital in connection with alcohol rose by the same percentage.
    Dr Philippe Nuss, who treats people with alcohol-related problems at the St Antoine hospital in Paris, says one factor in the growth of binge drinking is that teenagers are now starting to drink at a younger age.

    "They start drinking earlier because the family is less cohesive," he says.

    "They used to be more strictly controlled by their parents but now they tend to go out and start drinking in groups from the age of about 13 to 16."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • greenlove33,

    Afghanistan would have a reasonably high rate of hash smoking compared to the good ole NZ alcohol binge..(don't get me wrong, I like a social drink such as a nice wine or cold beer on a hot day..)

    If we do manage to get the French over here, can I put in a request for a much, much higher female ratio. Over the summer I had plenty of french guys talking bollix around the South Island, yelling and yahooing. Climbing over the top of you at full pace.

    We could do with an intake of sophisticated French women. I'm not against the idea. Wine ambassadors perhaps.

    If they introduce 4am closing, theres a decent subsection of partiers who don't go out until 2amish. Now, my day may have passed but I would still like the opportunity to go out clubbing all night once or twice a month.

    Thats the point of a decent city centre(Aucks, Wells and ChCh with Dunedin all count). I might not want to be out till 7am 6 days a week anymore, but I'd like the option!! Who knows, I may get a second wind..(be a fifth wind by now but not to worry lol)..

    Centered • Since Aug 2009 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Stephen - ahh, if only we could swap our teenagers with traditional French teenagers, we'd be fine. Quick, to the Tardis! :)

    @Tessa - It's a fine line I admit, but if statistics show pissed women are more likely to end up becoming victims of whatever, isn't it, from a health prevention kinda standpoint, to have a message along the lines of "hey, watch yourself when you go out, don't get too pissed, you could end up in a bad situation (even though it's not your fault as such)"?

    Or should we just put all that ALAC money into ads that say "Hey, don't rape drunk women, it's not cool." Because I don't know that rapists respond that well to social advertising.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It also wants to ban...all-you-can-drink "open bar" evenings at French high schools.

    Here we call those "The After Ball", and schools threaten to cancel your ball if they go ahead.

    (All you can drink open bar evenings at school? That doesn't sound like part of a healthy alcohol culture...)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And on Afghanistan, they might have 0.0 reported drinking,

    And I'd say the same applies to Indonesia (0.1 on that list), unless those kids you see spinning around Central Java legless on bootleg whiskey were something I imagined.

    As a Muslim you can't legally buy it, but you can buy it everywhere.

    Which (co)incidentally seems to kill a hefty number of those same illicit consumers in that nation every year as they tend to add methanol for extra kicks, and it's a fine balancing act between kicks and kill.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I get mightily grumpy at the constant reference to Spain and Italy as having some sort of mythical, fabulous, laid back Latin culture. I've been on the sauce with many a Spaniard, and believe me - they can put the liquor away with the best of them.

    The biggest drinker of Grappa I've ever seen was a Italian monk. He loved it so much he bootlegged it out of a ruined monastery near Belluno (true story).

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    BREAKING NEWS: In a shock move, the Government has this evening taken Parliament into extraordinary urgency to pass a bill to increase the tobacco excise tax. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3634098/Tobacco-excise-tax-increased-by-Government#share

    Let's remind ourselves what the the Prime Minister said yesterday about the same recommendation for liquor.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

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